GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Just in time for the holidays, gas prices have spiked in West Michigan.
According to GasBuddy.com, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Grand Rapids was $2.43 and rising late Monday afternoon and the state average was $2.39 — both of which were much higher than the national average of about $2.26.
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Patrick DeHaan, the senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, said wholesale gas prices in the Great Lakes region were the highest in the country. He blamed OPEC, extremely cold temperatures in the region Monday that caused refinery problems and the fluctuating commodity market.
“Today, crude oil prices closed at $52 a barrel. Still … more than double what the price of crude oil was back in February and that’s pushing gas prices higher,” he explained.
DeHaan said the holiday has nothing to do with the increase in prices.
“It’s really all over the map. Two years ago, December saw a 50 cent drop from the start of it to the end of it. So it really doesn’t matter what holiday there is. Thanksgiving, we saw prices rise about a week before, but then going into it, the five days prior to Thanksgiving, prices started to fall again,” he said.
He said the new year will bring higher prices than what was normal in 2016.
“I think that 2017 will likely see gas prices anywhere from 20 to 30 cents higher than what we saw this year. That could push Grand Rapids and West Michigan close to $3 a gallon during those spring months,” he said.